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Under the Knife

"What if I die under it?" The thought recurred again and again, as I
walked home from Haddon's. It was a purely personal question. I was spared
the deep anxieties of a married man, and I knew there were few of my
intimate friends but would find my death troublesome chiefly on account of
their duty of regret. I was surprised indeed, and perhaps a little
humiliated, as I turned the matter over, to think how few could possibly
exceed the conventional requirement. Things came before me stripped of
glamour, in a clear dry light, during that walk from Haddon's house over
Primrose Hill. There were the friends of my youth: I perceived now that
our affection was a tradition, which we foregathered rather laboriously to
maintain. There were the rivals and helpers of my later career: I suppose
I had been cold-blooded or undemonstrative--one perhaps implies the other.
It may be that even the capacity for friendship is a question of physique.
There had been a time in my own life when I had grieved bitterly enough at
the loss of a friend; but as I walked home that afternoon the emotional
side of my imagination was dormant. I could not pity myself, nor feel
sorry for my friends, nor conceive of them as grieving for me.

I was interested in this deadness of my emotional nature--no doubt a
concomitant of my stagnating physiology; and my thoughts wandered off
along the line it suggested. Once before, in my hot youth, I had suffered
a sudden loss of blood, and had been within an ace of death. I remembered
now that my affections as well as my passions had drained out of me,
leaving scarce anything but a tranquil resignation, a dreg of self-pity.
It had been weeks before the old ambitions and tendernesses and all the
complex moral interplay of a man had reasserted themselves. It occurred to
me that the real meaning of this numbness might be a gradual slipping away
from the pleasure-pain guidance of the animal man. It has been proven, I
take it, as thoroughly as anything can be proven in this world, that the
higher emotions, the moral feelings, even the subtle unselfishness of
love, are evolved from the elemental desires and fears of the simple
animal: they are the harness in which man's mental freedom goes. And it
may be that as death overshadows us, as our possibility of acting
diminishes, this complex growth of balanced impulse, propensity and
aversion, whose interplay inspires our acts, goes with it. Leaving what?

I was suddenly brought back to reality by an imminent collision with the
butcher-boy's tray. I found that I was crossing the bridge over the
Regent's Park Canal, which runs parallel with that in the Zoological
Gardens. The boy in blue had been looking over his shoulder at a black
barge advancing slowly, towed by a gaunt white horse. In the Gardens a
nurse was leading three happy little children over the bridge. The trees
were bright green; the spring hopefulness was still unstained by the dusts
of summer; the sky in the water was bright and clear, but broken by long
waves, by quivering bands of black, as the barge drove through. The breeze
was stirring; but it did not stir me as the spring breeze used to do.

Was this dulness of feeling in itself an anticipation? It was curious that
I could reason and follow out a network of suggestion as clearly as ever:
so, at least, it seemed to me. It was calmness rather than dulness that
was coming upon me. Was there any ground for the relief in the
presentiment of death? Did a man near to death begin instinctively to
withdraw himself from the meshes of matter and sense, even before the
cold hand was laid upon his? I felt strangely isolated--isolated without
regret--from the life and existence about me. The children playing in the
sun and gathering strength and experience for the business of life,
the park-keeper gossiping with a nursemaid, the nursing mother, the young
couple intent upon each other as they passed me, the trees by the wayside
spreading new pleading leaves to the sunlight, the stir in their
branches--I had been part of it all, but I had nearly done with it now.

Some way down the Broad Walk I perceived that I was tired, and that my
feet were heavy. It was hot that afternoon, and I turned aside and sat
down on one of the green chairs that line the way. In a minute I had dozed
into a dream, and the tide of my thoughts washed up a vision of the
resurrection. I was still sitting in the chair, but I thought myself
actually dead, withered, tattered, dried, one eye (I saw) pecked out by
birds. "Awake!" cried a voice; and incontinently the dust of the path and
the mould under the grass became insurgent. I had never before thought of
Regent's Park as a cemetery, but now, through the trees, stretching as far
as eye could see, I beheld a flat plain of writhing graves and heeling
tombstones. There seemed to be some trouble: the rising dead appeared to
stifle as they struggled upward, they bled in their struggles, the red
flesh was torn away from the white bones. "Awake!" cried a voice; but I
determined I would not rise to such horrors. "Awake!" They would not let
me alone. "Wake up!" said an angry voice. A cockney angel! The man who
sells the tickets was shaking me, demanding my penny.

I paid my penny, pocketed my ticket, yawned, stretched my legs, and,
feeling now rather less torpid, got up and walked on towards Langham
Place. I speedily lost myself again in a shifting maze of thoughts about
death. Going across Marylebone Road into that crescent at the end of
Langham Place, I had the narrowest escape from the shaft of a cab, and
went on my way with a palpitating heart and a bruised shoulder. It struck
me that it would have been curious if my meditations on my death on the
morrow had led to my death that day.

But I will not weary you with more of my experiences that day and the
next. I knew more and more certainly that I should die under the
operation; at times I think I was inclined to pose to myself. The doctors
were coming at eleven, and I did not get up. It seemed scarce worth while
to trouble about washing and dressing, and though I read my newspapers and
the letters that came by the first post, I did not find them very
interesting. There was a friendly note from Addison, my old school-friend,
calling my attention to two discrepancies and a printer's error in my new
book, with one from Langridge venting some vexation over Minton. The rest
were business communications. I breakfasted in bed. The glow of pain at my
side seemed more massive. I knew it was pain, and yet, if you can
understand, I did not find it very painful. I had been awake and hot and
thirsty in the night, but in the morning bed felt comfortable. In the
night-time I had lain thinking of things that were past; in the morning I
dozed over the question of immortality. Haddon came, punctual to the
minute, with a neat black bag; and Mowbray soon followed. Their arrival
stirred me up a little. I began to take a more personal interest in the
proceedings. Haddon moved the little octagonal table close to the bedside,
and, with his broad back to me, began taking things out of his bag. I
heard the light click of steel upon steel. My imagination, I found, was
not altogether stagnant. "Will you hurt me much?" I said in an off-hand

"Not a bit," Haddon answered over his shoulder. "We shall chloroform you.
Your heart's as sound as a bell." And as he spoke, I had a whiff of the
pungent sweetness of the anaesthetic.

They stretched me out, with a convenient exposure of my side, and, almost
before I realised what was happening, the chloroform was being
administered. It stings the nostrils, and there is a suffocating sensation
at first. I knew I should die--that this was the end of consciousness for
me. And suddenly I felt that I was not prepared for death: I had a vague
sense of a duty overlooked--I knew not what. What was it I had not done? I
could think of nothing more to do, nothing desirable left in life; and yet
I had the strangest disinclination to death. And the physical sensation
was painfully oppressive. Of course the doctors did not know they were
going to kill me. Possibly I struggled. Then I fell motionless, and
a great silence, a monstrous silence, and an impenetrable blackness came
upon me.

There must have been an interval of absolute unconsciousness, seconds or
minutes. Then with a chilly, unemotional clearness, I perceived that I was
not yet dead. I was still in my body; but all the multitudinous sensations
that come sweeping from it to make up the background of consciousness had
gone, leaving me free of it all. No, not free of it all; for as yet
something still held me to the poor stark flesh upon the bed--held me, yet
not so closely that I did not feel myself external to it, independent of
it, straining away from it. I do not think I saw, I do not think I heard;
but I perceived all that was going on, and it was as if I both heard and
saw. Haddon was bending over me, Mowbray behind me; the scalpel--it was a
large scalpel--was cutting my flesh at the side under the flying ribs. It
was interesting to see myself cut like cheese, without a pang, without
even a qualm. The interest was much of a quality with that one might feel
in a game of chess between strangers. Haddon's face was firm and his hand
steady; but I was surprised to perceive (_how_ I know not) that he
was feeling the gravest doubt as to his own wisdom in the conduct of the

Mowbray's thoughts, too, I could see. He was thinking that Haddon's manner
showed too much of the specialist. New suggestions came up like bubbles
through a stream of frothing meditation, and burst one after another in
the little bright spot of his consciousness. He could not help noticing
and admiring Haddon's swift dexterity, in spite of his envious quality and
his disposition to detract. I saw my liver exposed. I was puzzled at my
own condition. I did not feel that I was dead, but I was different in some
way from my living self. The grey depression, that had weighed on me for a
year or more and coloured all my thoughts, was gone. I perceived and
thought without any emotional tint at all. I wondered if everyone
perceived things in this way under chloroform, and forgot it again when he
came out of it. It would be inconvenient to look into some heads, and not

Although I did not think that I was dead, I still perceived quite clearly
that I was soon to die. This brought me back to the consideration of
Haddon's proceedings. I looked into his mind, and saw that he was afraid
of cutting a branch of the portal vein. My attention was distracted from
details by the curious changes going on in his mind. His consciousness was
like the quivering little spot of light which is thrown by the mirror of a
galvanometer. His thoughts ran under it like a stream, some through the
focus bright and distinct, some shadowy in the half-light of the edge.
Just now the little glow was steady; but the least movement on Mowbray's
part, the slightest sound from outside, even a faint difference in the
slow movement of the living flesh he was cutting, set the light-spot
shivering and spinning. A new sense-impression came rushing up through the
flow of thoughts; and lo! the light-spot jerked away towards it, swifter
than a frightened fish. It was wonderful to think that upon that unstable,
fitful thing depended all the complex motions of the man; that for the
next five minutes, therefore, my life hung upon its movements. And he was
growing more and more nervous in his work. It was as if a little picture
of a cut vein grew brighter, and struggled to oust from his brain another
picture of a cut falling short of the mark. He was afraid: his dread of
cutting too little was battling with his dread of cutting too far.

Then, suddenly, like an escape of water from under a lock-gate, a great
uprush of horrible realisation set all his thoughts swirling, and
simultaneously I perceived that the vein was cut. He started back with a
hoarse exclamation, and I saw the brown-purple blood gather in a swift
bead, and run trickling. He was horrified. He pitched the red-stained
scalpel on to the octagonal table; and instantly both doctors flung
themselves upon me, making hasty and ill-conceived efforts to remedy the
disaster. "Ice!" said Mowbray, gasping. But I knew that I was killed,
though my body still clung to me.

I will not describe their belated endeavours to save me, though I
perceived every detail. My perceptions were sharper and swifter than they
had ever been in life; my thoughts rushed through my mind with incredible
swiftness, but with perfect definition. I can only compare their crowded
clarity to the effects of a reasonable dose of opium. In a moment it would
all be over, and I should be free. I knew I was immortal, but what would
happen I did not know. Should I drift off presently, like a puff of smoke
from a gun, in some kind of half-material body, an attenuated version of
my material self? Should I find myself suddenly among the innumerable
hosts of the dead, and know the world about me for the phantasmagoria it
had always seemed? Should I drift to some spiritualistic _s�ance_,
and there make foolish, incomprehensible attempts to affect a purblind
medium? It was a state of unemotional curiosity, of colourless
expectation. And then I realised a growing stress upon me, a feeling as
though some huge human magnet was drawing me upward out of my body. The
stress grew and grew. I seemed an atom for which monstrous forces were
fighting. For one brief, terrible moment sensation came back to me. That
feeling of falling headlong which comes in nightmares, that feeling a
thousand times intensified, that and a black horror swept across my
thoughts in a torrent. Then the two doctors, the naked body with its cut
side, the little room, swept away from under me and vanished, as a speck
of foam vanishes down an eddy.

I was in mid-air. Far below was the West End of London, receding
rapidly,--for I seemed to be flying swiftly upward,--and as it receded,
passing westward like a panorama. I could see, through the faint haze of
smoke, the innumerable roofs chimney-set, the narrow roadways, stippled
with people and conveyances, the little specks of squares, and the church
steeples like thorns sticking out of the fabric. But it spun away as the
earth rotated on its axis, and in a few seconds (as it seemed) I was over
the scattered clumps of town about Ealing, the little Thames a thread of
blue to the south, and the Chiltern Hills and the North Downs coming up
like the rim of a basin, far away and faint with haze. Up I rushed. And at
first I had not the faintest conception what this headlong rush upward
could mean.

Every moment the circle of scenery beneath me grew wider and wider, and
the details of town and field, of hill and valley, got more and more hazy
and pale and indistinct, a luminous grey was mingled more and more with
the blue of the hills and the green of the open meadows; and a little
patch of cloud, low and far to the west, shone ever more dazzlingly white.
Above, as the veil of atmosphere between myself and outer space grew
thinner, the sky, which had been a fair springtime blue at first, grew
deeper and richer in colour, passing steadily through the intervening
shades, until presently it was as dark as the blue sky of midnight, and
presently as black as the blackness of a frosty starlight, and at last as
black as no blackness I had ever beheld. And first one star, and then
many, and at last an innumerable host broke out upon the sky: more stars
than anyone has ever seen from the face of the earth. For the blueness of
the sky in the light of the sun and stars sifted and spread abroad
blindingly: there is diffused light even in the darkest skies of winter,
and we do not see the stars by day only because of the dazzling
irradiation of the sun. But now I saw things--I know not how; assuredly
with no mortal eyes--and that defect of bedazzlement blinded me no longer.
The sun was incredibly strange and wonderful. The body of it was a disc of
blinding white light: not yellowish, as it seems to those who live upon
the earth, but livid white, all streaked with scarlet streaks and rimmed
about with a fringe of writhing tongues of red fire. And shooting half-way
across the heavens from either side of it and brighter than the Milky Way,
were two pinions of silver white, making it look more like those winged
globes I have seen in Egyptian sculpture than anything else I can remember
upon earth. These I knew for the solar corona, though I had never seen
anything of it but a picture during the days of my earthly life.

When my attention came back to the earth again, I saw that it had fallen
very far away from me. Field and town were long since indistinguishable,
and all the varied hues of the country were merging into a uniform bright
grey, broken only by the brilliant white of the clouds that lay scattered
in flocculent masses over Ireland and the west of England. For now I could
see the outlines of the north of France and Ireland, and all this Island
of Britain, save where Scotland passed over the horizon to the north, or
where the coast was blurred or obliterated by cloud. The sea was a dull
grey, and darker than the land; and the whole panorama was rotating slowly
towards the east.

All this had happened so swiftly that until I was some thousand miles or
so from the earth I had no thought for myself. But now I perceived I had
neither hands nor feet, neither parts nor organs, and that I felt neither
alarm nor pain. All about me I perceived that the vacancy (for I had
already left the air behind) was cold beyond the imagination of man; but
it troubled me not. The sun's rays shot through the void, powerless to
light or heat until they should strike on matter in their course. I saw
things with a serene self-forgetfulness, even as if I were God. And down
below there, rushing away from me,--countless miles in a second,--where a
little dark spot on the grey marked the position of London, two doctors
were struggling to restore life to the poor hacked and outworn shell I had
abandoned. I felt then such release, such serenity as I can compare to no
mortal delight I have ever known.

It was only after I had perceived all these things that the meaning of
that headlong rush of the earth grew into comprehension. Yet it was so
simple, so obvious, that I was amazed at my never anticipating the thing
that was happening to me. I had suddenly been cut adrift from matter: all
that was material of me was there upon earth, whirling away through space,
held to the earth by gravitation, partaking of the earth-inertia, moving
in its wreath of epicycles round the sun, and with the sun and the planets
on their vast march through space. But the immaterial has no inertia,
feels nothing of the pull of matter for matter: where it parts from its
garment of flesh, there it remains (so far as space concerns it any
longer) immovable in space. _I_ was not leaving the earth: the earth
was leaving _me_, and not only the earth but the whole solar system
was streaming past. And about me in space, invisible to me, scattered in
the wake of the earth upon its journey, there must be an innumerable
multitude of souls, stripped like myself of the material, stripped like
myself of the passions of the individual and the generous emotions of the
gregarious brute, naked intelligences, things of new-born wonder and
thought, marvelling at the strange release that had suddenly come on them!

As I receded faster and faster from the strange white sun in the black
heavens, and from the broad and shining earth upon which my being had
begun, I seemed to grow in some incredible manner vast: vast as regards
this world I had left, vast as regards the moments and periods of a human
life. Very soon I saw the full circle of the earth, slightly gibbous, like
the moon when she nears her full, but very large; and the silvery shape of
America was now in the noonday blaze wherein (as it seemed) little England
had been basking but a few minutes ago. At first the earth was large, and
shone in the heavens, filling a great part of them; but every moment she
grew smaller and more distant. As she shrank, the broad moon in its third
quarter crept into view over the rim of her disc. I looked for the
constellations. Only that part of Aries directly behind the sun and the
Lion, which the earth covered, were hidden. I recognised the tortuous,
tattered band of the Milky Way with Vega very bright between sun and
earth; and Sirius and Orion shone splendid against the unfathomable
blackness in the opposite quarter of the heavens. The Pole Star was
overhead, and the Great Bear hung over the circle of the earth. And away
beneath and beyond the shining corona of the sun were strange groupings of
stars I had never seen in my life--notably a dagger-shaped group that I
knew for the Southern Cross. All these were no larger than when they had
shone on earth, but the little stars that one scarce sees shone now
against the setting of black vacancy as brightly as the first-magnitudes
had done, while the larger worlds were points of indescribable glory and
colour. Aldebaran was a spot of blood-red fire, and Sirius condensed to
one point the light of innumerable sapphires. And they shone steadily:
they did not scintillate, they were calmly glorious. My impressions had an
adamantine hardness and brightness: there was no blurring softness, no
atmosphere, nothing but infinite darkness set with the myriads of these
acute and brilliant points and specks of light. Presently, when I looked
again, the little earth seemed no bigger than the sun, and it dwindled and
turned as I looked, until in a second's space (as it seemed to me), it was
halved; and so it went on swiftly dwindling. Far away in the opposite
direction, a little pinkish pin's head of light, shining steadily, was the
planet Mars. I swam motionless in vacancy, and, without a trace of terror
or astonishment, watched the speck of cosmic dust we call the world fall
away from me.

Presently it dawned upon me that my sense of duration had changed; that my
mind was moving not faster but infinitely slower, that between each
separate impression there was a period of many days. The moon spun once
round the earth as I noted this; and I perceived clearly the motion of
Mars in his orbit. Moreover, it appeared as if the time between thought
and thought grew steadily greater, until at last a thousand years was but
a moment in my perception.

At first the constellations had shone motionless against the black
background of infinite space; but presently it seemed as though the group
of stars about Hercules and the Scorpion was contracting, while Orion and
Aldebaran and their neighbours were scattering apart. Flashing suddenly
out of the darkness there came a flying multitude of particles of rock,
glittering like dust-specks in a sunbeam, and encompassed in a faintly
luminous cloud. They swirled all about me, and vanished again in a
twinkling far behind. And then I saw that a bright spot of light, that
shone a little to one side of my path, was growing very rapidly larger,
and perceived that it was the planet Saturn rushing towards me. Larger and
larger it grew, swallowing up the heavens behind it, and hiding every
moment a fresh multitude, of stars. I perceived its flattened, whirling
body, its disc-like belt, and seven of its little satellites. It grew and
grew, till it towered enormous; and then I plunged amid a streaming
multitude of clashing stones and dancing dust-particles and gas-eddies,
and saw for a moment the mighty triple belt like three concentric arches
of moonlight above me, its shadow black on the boiling tumult below. These
things happened in one-tenth of the time it takes to tell them. The planet
went by like a flash of lightning; for a few seconds it blotted out the
sun, and there and then became a mere black, dwindling, winged patch
against the light. The earth, the mother mote of my being, I could no
longer see.

So with a stately swiftness, in the profoundest silence, the solar system
fell from me as it had been a garment, until the sun was a mere star amid
the multitude of stars, with its eddy of planet-specks lost in the
confused glittering of the remoter light. I was no longer a denizen of the
solar system: I had come to the outer Universe, I seemed to grasp and
comprehend the whole world of matter. Ever more swiftly the stars closed
in about the spot where Antares and Vega had vanished in a phosphorescent
haze, until that part of the sky had the semblance of a whirling mass of
nebulae, and ever before me yawned vaster gaps of vacant blackness, and
the stars shone fewer and fewer. It seemed as if I moved towards a point
between Orion's belt and sword; and the void about that region opened
vaster and vaster every second, an incredible gulf of nothingness into
which I was falling. Faster and ever faster the universe rushed by, a
hurry of whirling motes at last, speeding silently into the void. Stars
glowing brighter and brighter, with their circling planets catching the
light in a ghostly fashion as I neared them, shone out and vanished again
into inexistence; faint comets, clusters of meteorites, winking specks of
matter, eddying light-points, whizzed past, some perhaps a hundred
millions of miles or so from me at most, few nearer, travelling with
unimaginable rapidity, shooting constellations, momentary darts of fire,
through that black, enormous night. More than anything else it was like a
dusty draught, sunbeam-lit. Broader and wider and deeper grew the starless
space, the vacant Beyond, into which I was being drawn. At last a quarter
of the heavens was black and blank, and the whole headlong rush of stellar
universe closed in behind me like a veil of light that is gathered
together. It drove away from me like a monstrous jack-o'-lantern driven by
the wind. I had come out into the wilderness of space. Ever the vacant
blackness grew broader, until the hosts of the stars seemed only like a
swarm of fiery specks hurrying away from me, inconceivably remote, and the
darkness, the nothingness and emptiness, was about me on every side. Soon
the little universe of matter, the cage of points in which I had begun to
be, was dwindling, now to a whirling disc of luminous glittering, and now
to one minute disc of hazy light. In a little while it would shrink to a
point, and at last would vanish altogether.

Suddenly feeling came back to me--feeling in the shape of overwhelming
terror; such a dread of those dark vastitudes as no words can describe, a
passionate resurgence of sympathy and social desire. Were there other
souls, invisible to me as I to them, about me in the blackness? or was I
indeed, even as I felt, alone? Had I passed out of being into something
that was neither being nor not-being? The covering of the body, the
covering of matter, had been torn from me, and the hallucinations of
companionship and security. Everything was black and silent. I had ceased
to be. I was nothing. There was nothing, save only that infinitesimal dot
of light that dwindled in the gulf. I strained myself to hear and see, and
for a while there was naught but infinite silence, intolerable darkness,
horror, and despair.

Then I saw that about the spot of light into which the whole world of
matter had shrunk there was a faint glow. And in a band on either side of
that the darkness was not absolute. I watched it for ages, as it seemed to
me, and through the long waiting the haze grew imperceptibly more
distinct. And then about the band appeared an irregular cloud of the
faintest, palest brown. I felt a passionate impatience; but the things
grew brighter so slowly that they scarce seemed to change. What was
unfolding itself? What was this strange reddish dawn in the interminable
night of space?

The cloud's shape was grotesque. It seemed to be looped along its lower
side into four projecting masses, and, above, it ended in a straight line.
What phantom was it? I felt assured I had seen that figure before; but I
could not think what, nor where, nor when it was. Then the realisation
rushed upon me. _It was a clenched Hand._ I was alone in space, alone
with this huge, shadowy Hand, upon which the whole Universe of Matter lay
like an unconsidered speck of dust. It seemed as though I watched it
through vast periods of time. On the forefinger glittered a ring; and the
universe from which I had come was but a spot of light upon the ring's
curvature. And the thing that the hand gripped had the likeness of a black
rod. Through a long eternity I watched this Hand, with the ring and the
rod, marvelling and fearing and waiting helplessly on what might follow.
It seemed as though nothing could follow: that I should watch for ever,
seeing only the Hand and the thing it held, and understanding nothing of
its import. Was the whole universe but a refracting speck upon some
greater Being? Were our worlds but the atoms of another universe, and
those again of another, and so on through an endless progression? And what
was I? Was I indeed immaterial? A vague persuasion of a body gathering
about me came into my suspense. The abysmal darkness about the Hand filled
with impalpable suggestions, with uncertain, fluctuating shapes.

Then, suddenly, came a sound, like the sound of a tolling bell: faint, as
if infinitely far; muffled, as though heard through thick swathings of
darkness: a deep, vibrating resonance, with vast gulfs of silence between
each stroke. And the Hand appeared to tighten on the rod. And I saw far
above the Hand, towards the apex of the darkness, a circle of dim
phosphorescence, a ghostly sphere whence these sounds came throbbing; and
at the last stroke the Hand vanished, for the hour had come, and I heard a
noise of many waters. But the black rod remained as a great band across
the sky. And then a voice, which seemed to run to the uttermost parts of
space, spoke, saying, "There will be no more pain."

At that an almost intolerable gladness and radiance rushed in upon me, and
I saw the circle shining white and bright, and the rod black and shining,
and many things else distinct and clear. And the circle was the face of
the clock, and the rod the rail of my bed. Haddon was standing at the
foot, against the rail, with a small pair of scissors on his fingers; and
the hands of my clock on the mantel over his shoulder were clasped
together over the hour of twelve. Mowbray was washing something in a basin
at the octagonal table, and at my side I felt a subdued feeling that could
scarce be spoken of as pain.

The operation had not killed me. And I perceived, suddenly, that the dull
melancholy of half a year was lifted from my mind.

H.G. Wells